The PropElle Network, a leading community that offers property education, advice and guidance to help women invest in property, has launched a series of free regular webinars for registered PropElle members in order to provide bespoke support during the nation’s lockdown.
The first webinar, which took place on Thursday March 26, titled ‘Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis: Perspectives on Property and Financial Wellness’, was hosted by PropElle’s chief executive officer Ayesha Ofori and featured expert panellists Vanessa Hale, Solmaz Zeidi, Gillie Barlow and Neela Chauhan.
Hosted through Zoom, the webinar’s core themes included:
Covid-19 and the UK property market – what to expect
Considerations for landlords and serviced accommodation providers
Perspectives on property development and how to find, fund and complete projects in this environment
Government support and how it is assessed
What lies ahead for UK property investors
Up to 100 PropElle members tuned into the webinar at 7pm for insight on how to cope through the growing Covid-19 pandemic and protect their investment.
Gillie Barlow, property investor at GMB Properties, said while the service accommodation (SA) sector is taking a huge blow, there are still things that can be done, as SA units and guest houses haven’t been told to shut.
For the houses in multiple occupation (HMO) sector, Barlow explains that rental gaps can be covered and paid for, with the government offering to pay an ‘enormous’ amount towards rents. She recommends advertising accommodation on Facebook for key workers, as well as contacting the NHS trust or hospitals.
“This is a very sad time, but there is always hope and in property there is now time to ponder, to gain clarity, to find deals, to discover new opportunities and get to know people to potentially joint venture with,” she commented.
“So, yes, the outlook is hopeful. It is more than hopeful – it is so much better than it ever was because I believe there is already a change of attitude in the people.”
When asked about the impact of Covid-19 on experienced and new developers, Solmaz Zeidi, head of property development at Prosperity Capital, said the crisis may affect them depending on what part of the development cycle they are in, such as sourcing, buying, negotiating debt terms, mid-construction or exiting.
She advised people to ensure that they have several exit plans and a general contingency allowance of 10-15% in case a buffer is needed to avoid projects going into negative equity.
“There will always be uncertainty in a market like this, or Brexit or the recurring ’10-year’ recession cycle, so as an investor you have to take calculated risks for those situations you cannot prepare for,” Zeidi added.
A familiar face on Property Investor Today, Ayesha Ofori says she is confident that there will be exciting opportunities out there once things normalise.
She said “Don’t panic about the situation and take the time to plan around how to position yourself in the best possible position once “normality” starts to return. Communication with your landlord is key, whether you’re a property owner, residential renter or corporate renter (e.g. rent-to-rent, rent-to-serviced accommodation).”
“Survival through this period is more important than profitability – do what you can to minimize losses and try renegotiating terms with landlords and re-purposing R2R to R2SA. If you have just got started investing in property, yes, these are uncertain times with volatility, but this is exactly when you can find great deals and returns. Most people sit on their money or head for the hills, but for those who do invest, there are distressed deals available.”
Ofori concluded: “Do your research on how and where you will move post-crisis. Don’t panic, just strategize, use time wisely and get yourself ready to act.”
The new webinar series further underlines the network’s aim to empower women to invest confidently at all levels, whether by direct property investments, through crowdfunding, or by starting their own property portfolios or property-related businesses.
More webinars, online content and other offerings will be provided to PropElle members over the coming weeks and months.